The European Defence Agency has just launched a €1 million, 18-month feasibility study to prepare a future cooperative governmental satellite communications (Govsatcom) programme.
The study will be delivered by a consortium led by Euroconsult with Airbus Defence & Space, CGI, Istituto Affari Internazionali, Hisdesat and SpaceTec Partners working as subcontractors. This work is expected to be complemented by other studies funded by the European Space Agency (ESA). Some synergies are also expected with the work currently performed by the European Commission.
“This study will help us to find new ways to cooperate in a complex institutional setting”, EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq stated upon signing the study contract. “Considering that Govsatcom capabilities are inherently dual-use, one of the main objectives will be to identify an efficient, innovative and sustainable cooperation model in particular by implementing synergies with the Commission. This will certainly be reflected by a genuine governance of the system”, he added.
“Government satellite communications are evolving, due to changes in operational requirements and to the availability of innovative and cost effective solutions serving these,” stated Euroconsult CEO Pacome Revillon. ”The international consortium combines expertise across the full satellite communications value chain, while the project governance will guarantee the independence and neutrality of the results. All partners are fully committed to delivering a study that lays the groundwork for future European capability,” he added.
Govsatcom was identified in December 2013 by EU Heads of State and Government as one of four priorities for capability development, along with air-to-air refuelling, remotely piloted aircraft systems and cyber defence.
Under the lead of Spain, a common staff target harmonising the needs of military users was adopted by all EDA Member States in 2014. Based on this commonly-agreed document, a preparation phase started ahead of the launch of a full-scale cooperative project. By the end of 2016, a business case including more detailed technical requirements as well as a through-life management plan should allow Member States to assess various options in terms of cooperation models and system architectures. These findings will be to a large extent supported by the outcome of the feasibility study.